According to our men on the show floor, the Cub Concept is "quite good looking," with a squat and funky shape that looks mostly ready for production. With a five-door hatchback shape featuring reverse-opening doors (we'll resist calling them suicide doors... whoops...), this machine doesn't seem to share much design DNA with current Kia products. And that's fine. As much as we like Kia's swoopy line of cars and 'utes, a little shakeup every now and then never hurts.
We're sure the diminutive hatchback would be a fun car to pilot, with 204 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque coming from its turbocharged and direct-injected 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. Kia quotes a 0-62 time of 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 143 miles per hour. Sounds to us like it could be a worthy competitor to such successful sporting hatchbacks as the Mini Cooper S and Fiat 500 Abarth.
It's a pity really – we're honestly not holding our breath to get a chance behind the wheel of the little Cub any time soon. That being the case, we suggest you check out our high-res image gallery above, as it may be the closest you'll ever get to seeing it yourself, and you're of course encouraged to read through the press release below.
Global premiere of all-new CUB compact four-door coupe concept
Comfortable four-seater cabin appeals to trend-setting urban dwellers
Rearward-opening rear doors ensure excellent cabin access
(SEOUL) March 28, 2013 – Kia Motors sprang a major surprise on visitors to the 9th Seoul International Motor Show today (Thursday) in Korea with the world premiere of its all-new 'CUB' concept.
Designed at the Kia headquarters studio in Seoul, under the direction of President and Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer, the CUB is less than four meters long, has rearward-opening rear doors and an 'access-all-areas' interior concept without traditional B-pillars, providing excellent access to the luxuriously trimmed cabin.
"The new Kia CUB is a compact, four-door coupe created with a clear focus on driving performance and practicality," comments Thomas Oh, Senior Executive Vice President and COO, Kia Motors Corporation. "Styled to appeal to trend-setting urban dwellers, the CUB features a comfortable four-seater cabin which generates an emotional, feel-good response and delivers everyday, real-world benefits."
The exterior styling of the CUB highlights that it is both sleek and small, with a cheerful face and a daring character. Design features created by Peter Schreyer for the 2007 Kia Kee 2+2 concept are revisited in a new form. The CUB's nose has a broad wrap-around 'mouth' and there is a 'dip' in the top of the windshield – a motif that is featured on Optima, Sportage and Cadenza models. The latest interpretation of grille is a shallower design incorporating the turbocharger's air intake, highlighted in body color.
The headlamps feature two-point LED lights – similar to those which first appeared on the Kia Quoris large flagship sedan last year. Large 19-inch alloy wheels fill the wheelarches and the front doors have aerodynamic 'turning-vanes' at sill level to streamline and add definition the CUB's flanks.
At the rear, LED tail lights complete the premium feel of the exterior and the nose treatment derived from Kia's Kee concept car is replicated at the tail to accentuate the width of the vehicle.
The super-smooth exterior, with its flush glazing, minimum-drag wing mirrors and automatic touch-type door handles, promises ultra-low aerodynamic drag. A two-color paint finish with sporty stripe hints at the CUB's high-performance potential, while the car's broad track gives it an imposing stance.
Four-seater luxury cabin
With four individual seats, the CUB's interior presents a unique ambience. The cabin creates the sensation of a luxurious coupe and is trimmed in black leather with yellow color accents around the seats, door armrests and steering wheel.
The instrument cluster design is inspired by the eyes of a wild animal. The center-stack design is minimalist with an air vent controlled by touch sensor. For extra safety, the steering wheel rim is capable of monitoring the driver`s biorhythms.
As well as a steering-wheel, there is a DIS (Driving Information System) controller connected to a gesture camera which provides easier operation while driving. With well-defined motions, drivers can set up each menu on the center display. Hinting at the high-performance nature of the CUB, there is a footrest provided in the front passenger footwell.
Turbocharged 204 ps engine
The CUB powertrain features a new version of the company's 1.6-liter GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine – recently confirmed as the powerunit for the new Kia pro_cee'd GT and cee'd GT sold in Europe.
Fitted with a twin-scroll turbocharger and strengthened internal components, the new engine generates 51% more power (204 ps) and 60% more torque (265 Nm) than the regular 1.6 unit. This engine enables both of Kia's European GT models, with a six-speed manual transmission, to accelerate to 100 kph in 7.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 230 kph.
At present there are no plans to put the Kia CUB concept into volume production.